News / USA

    Farm Bill Key Issue on Presidential Campaign Trail in Iowa

    DAVENPORT, Iowa — Agriculture legislation known as the “Farm Bill”, scheduled to expire at the end of September, is one of the top issues on the presidential campaign trail in the Midwest state of Iowa.  Continued drought conditions, and lack of action by legislators on renewing Farm Bill legislation, could influence voters when they head to the polls in November.
     
    A lack of rain and scorching temperatures are taking a toll on eastern Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt.
     
    On his farm outside Davenport, a creek bed usually flowing with water is almost completely dried up.  His grazing pastures are so bare he has to bring in hay and water daily to keep his cows fed.
     
    To make matters worse, some of his corn crop has wilted, and Ewoldt is worried that low supply and high prices will impact other parts of his farming operation. “The hog operations are going to be really hurting because they need to feed corn.  The poultry is really going to be in a squeeze because that’s all a chicken will eat is corn.  And a dairy guy has to feed corn to get his cows to produce a lot of corn," he said. 
     
    While campaigning in Iowa, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. government would buy up to $170 million worth of pork, chicken, and lamb to help those producers affected by the drought.  Ewoldt views the announcement as a political maneuver.
     
    “In the short run it’s going to help us, but to sustain us through what were going to see over the next eight to ten months in these crop prices and our input costs for livestock, it’s not going to do much at all," he said. 
     
    Ewoldt says what would help are certain benefits provided by the Farm Bill, such as crop insurance.  He wants the legislation renewed before it expires to help provide a sense of security amid the drought. “We’re tired of the gridlock.  We’re tired of hearing that the Congress, the House and Senate are all locked up, and there’s so much - everybody’s so divided," he said. 
     
    “In this part of the country especially, they feel very disconnected from Washington," said Augustana College Political Science Professor Christopher Whitt. He said in Iowa, the drought could determine the November election. “The ways in which the people from the two parties either respond or didn’t respond to the drought, would be a game changer.”
     
    Oklahoma Republican Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, hopes lawmakers visiting their districts during the recess will see the impact of the drought, and act to pass the Farm Bill.  “I’m counting on farmers and ranchers across the country who are impacted by the drought to remind their members of Congress, that’s what constituents do a wonderful job of, to work with committee to get the job done," he said. 
     
    “Hopefully we can get by this bickering and let’s get it done, and let’s do what’s best for the country not what’s best for the parties," said Ewoldt. 
     
    In the meantime, what would be best for Ewoldt is more rain, to get the water running through his creek again, and to help the grass grow in his pastures so his cows can eat on their own, without his help.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.